Olomouc - Tour of town

Olomouc lies at the heart of the Haná region, and is and always has been one of the most important cities in Moravia, where history has gone hand-in-hand with its people, science and progress. The construction of plague columns in Christian countries was instigated by the Trident Council, and at the time of its construction from 1716-1754 the Olomouc monument was one of the last examples of this fashion wave, but in its creative concept, wealth of decoration and finally its dimensions and height it differs considerably from all similar monuments. The consecration of the 35 metre-high column on 9th September 1754 was attended in person by the then first couple of the Monarchy, Empress Maria Teresa and her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, Duke of Lorraine. The Holy Trinity Column was inscribed in the UNESCO list in 2000.

The tour of the city begins on Václavské náměstí with a tour of the Archdiocese museum, the 12th century Přemyslovský palace and the Cathedral of St. Václav. From here we walk to Biskupské náměstí with its palatial 17th century buildings and the Tereziánská zbrojnice (Maria Theresa Armoury). We cross over to náměstí Republiky with its Triton fountain and the Natural History Museum and the Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow (Kostel Panny Marie Sněžné). We leave the square and pass the Jesuit 'Konvikt' boarding school, the chapel of Jan Sarkander and the Corpus Christi Chapel (Kaplička Božího těla) and arrive at Žerotínovo náměstí, with its Church of St. Michal. From here we continue to Dolní náměstí, where we find the fountains of Jupiter and Neptune and the original Marian plague column. Our tour ends on Horní náměstí with the town hall, the astronomical clock, the Holy Trinity Column, the fountains of Hercules, Caesar and Jupiter and the Church of St. Mořic.

The Town Hall is a large two-storey building on Horní náměstí, which became a symbol of economic and political importance in the then royal capital city. Alongside the town hall tower we can see the second largest astronomical clock in the Czech Republic, which was designed by Karel Svolinský in the spirit of socialist realism.

The Archbishop's Palace is one of Moravia's most important early baroque buildings, and was built to the plans of the Italian architect Filiberto Luchese on the site of an earlier Renaissance palace. It consists of seven two-storey wings which have two internal courtyards. The street façade is richly structured with three portals, and the original baroque stucco decoration has been preserved.

The Archdiocesan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Olomouc was established in 1952 as a part of the natural history museum. After 1989 it obtained its own building in the centre of the city. The museum has more than 65000 items in its collection from the fields of painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic arts, photography, commercial art and architectural documentation, and is the third largest institution of its type in the Czech Republic.

The Hradisko monastery was originally a Benedictine monastery that was built to St. Stephen by the Bishop of Olomouc Ota Sličný and his wife Eufemie in 1078. In the mid-12th century the monastery was taken over by the Premonstratian order, who owned it until it was dissolved in 1784. From 1802 to the present day the building has been used as a military hospital, and the monastery is one of the oldest in Moravia.

The Olomouc Natural History Museum is housed in the building of the former monastery of the Poor Clares. This complex of buildings, which includes the Church of St. Clare, dates from the second half of the 18th century and it was probably built by Matěj Kniebandl and Václav Beda. The museum has several permanent exhibitions such as 'Geology and mineralogy', 'From astronomical clocks to watches', 'Prehistoric Olomouc' and 'Zoology'.

The Greenhouse collections and botanical gardens form a part of the Flora exhibition in Olomouc. The greenhouses containing palms and cactuses, both tropical and sub-tropical, are some of the largest in the Czech Republic. At each season of the year dozens of highly exotic plants bud, bloom and germinate here, and therefore it is open almost throughout the year with the exception of winter.

The Villa Primavesi is a unique example of the union of the Viennese and English Art Nouveau styles. The Art Nouveau villa was built by the Viennese architects Franz von Krauss and Josef Tölk for the Olomouc banker Primavesi family on land situated on the old walls of the historical city centre in 1905-1906. In the interior are preserved jewels of Art Nouveau arts and crafts from the workshops of Wiener Werkstätte.

Fort XVII is one of the first four fortresses to be built over time from 1850 onwards to the west and south west of the Olomouc fortress. They partially resemble the older forts on the Tabulový and Šibeniční hills, however they differ in their constructional features such as their mighty earth ramparts defended by heavy artillery dugouts. At the centre of the fortress is the so-called 'Raduit', which was used for accommodation.

The 'Svatý Kopeček' ('Holy Mound') and its origins is linked with the name of the Olomouc wine merchant Jan Andrýsek, who had a chapel built on the hill known as Svatá hora (Holy Mount), which was consecrated in 1633. The chapel stands on land belonging to the Premonstratian religious community, which was based here from 1151. The monastery was established on this site in 1078.